The Government’s success in securing the “Windsor Framework” on Northern Ireland shows Labour will be able to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU, the shadow Chancellor has claimed.
Rachel Reeves promised that if Labour forms the Government at the next election it will strike up a “closer trading relationship” with Brussels.
The party has promised to stay out of the EU’s single market and customs union, prompting questions over how it could boost trade links.
But speaking to journalists on Thursday, Ms Reeves said: “We want British businesses to be able to export to our nearest neighbours and trading partners, and so we want to get improvements on the deal that the Government’s secured – and the fact that they have been able to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol show that that is absolutely possible.”
The shadow Chancellor revealed she will travel to the US later this spring for talks with senior Democratic party officials on what lessons Labour can learn before the election.
She warned that the US, EU and other economies are pumping investment into green infrastructure, saying: “We are still in the changing rooms and other countries are running this race and they’ll get the investment and jobs to their countries.”
Ms Reeves, who has refused to make any spending commitments without explaining which taxes will be used to pay for them, suggested she would not be willing to prioritise funding for the restoration of Parliament, which is likely to cost at least £10bn but which insiders say is needed to stop the Palace of Westminster becomin unusable.
She said: “This site is an iconic site and we want to preserve it for generations to come. But we have got to get value for money.
“We need to keep the costs down, because my constituents in Leeds West and people around the country are going to be very unforgiving if billions are available for a scheme like this, while the cost-of-living crisis is ongoing and whilst our public services are crumbling.”
And she hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party, saying: “After the terrible and unforgivable failure to tackle anti-Semitism by Jeremy Corbyn and the last Labour leadership, which almost destroyed my party, I am so pleased that we have got it back.”